The second Group D game on Tuesday will see France and Australia going head-to-head at Al Janoub Stadium.
France, who won the World Cup in Russia four years ago, will try to start the tournament in style with a win over the Socceroos. Les Bleus and Denmark are the clear favorites to advance to the knockout stage, but the Qatar World Cup has already suggested it could be one of the most surprising tournaments, as has just been proved with Argentina’s shocking defeat to Saudi Arabia.
France against injuries and history
Didier Deschamp’s men have suffered huge blows in terms of injuries: they won’t be able to call upon the services of key players including Karim Benzema, Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté.
Moreover, the French squad will but up against history in Qatar, as the three defending champions that have come before –Germany, Spain and Italy — have all seen their next runs in the tournament end in the group stage. The titleholders, in fact, haven’t won their opening game of the competition since Brazil did it in 2006.
Meanwhile, Australia will be motivated to repeat the round-of-16 berth in the 2006 tournament, as it’s their best achievement on the biggest footballing stage so far. Graham Arnold’s men head into their opening match on the back of five successive wins.
France-Australia match officials
Today’s clash at Al Janoub Stadium will be overseen by South African referee Victor Gomes.
Gomes has been a referee in South Africa’s Premier Soccer League since 2008, winning the Referee of the Season award twice in his career. The 39-year-old was appointed an official FIFA referee in 2011 and has since taken charge of some important international matches, such as the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations final between Senegal and Egypt.
The referee is also known for rejecting and reporting a bribe to fix a Confederation Cup match between Nigerian side Plateau United and Algerian side USM Alger.
Gomes will be supported by Assistant Referees Zakhele Siwela and Souru Phatsoane with the Fourth Official set to be Salima Mukansanga.
Who is the VAR for France vs Australia
Always ready to be involved in some controversy, deserved or not, is the Video Assistant Referee. For this game it will be Drew Fischer from Canada.
South African 🇿🇦 referee Victor Gomes will be in charge of the last game today between the reigning champions France 🇫🇷 & Australia 🇦🇺. He’ll be assisted by countryman Zakhele Siwela & Lesotho’s Souru Phatšoane.
Rwandan 🇷🇼 Salima Mukansanga has been named as the fourth official. pic.twitter.com/KY4qtJBK47
— Usher Komugisha (@UsherKomugisha) November 22, 2022